The roles are reversed. Children become the parents.
It was already 5 pm, but the summer sun shines bright. Soft, warm light reflecting on the water, we sat at the riverbanks watching people fish…
Me: I think I’m putting the dots together now. You can tune into people’s feeling easily because you were trained since childhood. Your parents fought constantly so you had to tiptoe around the house and watch for the atmosphere. *analyzing*
He: Hmm yes, perhaps. I haven’t given that much thought to be honest. *staring into the water intently*
Me: Right, but when you were little, you already learned that there’s a right time for everything. Depending on your parents’ mood, they may hear what you have to say, or ignore your opinions completely.
He: That’s actually very tiring. When I do that, it drains my mental energy. That’s why I prefer to be alone. *tone definite*
From what I could remember, my parents only fought once.
Though, the fear I felt for me and my sister seared into my memory.
Me: Weren’t you sort of forced into playing the adult role then? *curious*
He: Hmm? *turned to face me*
Me: You mentioned that you had to comfort your mom when she was upset? Like you were forced to pick a side after the fight?
He: Yeah, I hated my dad. I wished they would divorce. And I told my mom so.
Me: How do you feel about that now?
He: I’m glad they are still together. *a little embarrassed*
They say, in time, you will learn to be a parent.
I only hope that my children will teach me, and show me how to love them.
Dusting off our pants, we strolled slowly towards the car park…
He: I’ve never been able to talk to anyone about this. Thank you. *looking ahead into the distance*
Me: Is it difficult to talk about your family? *cocked my head*
He: I’m ashamed of them. I worry how others may react. Maybe they will look at me differently.
Me: Thank you for sharing your story with me. I feel very privileged. For me, you are still the same you since we first met, but listening to your experience has helped me understand you and why you think the way you do.
Standing in the middle of the grass field and listening to the sound of football kicking, we looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.